Top 6 Off-Road 4×4 Trails & Areas To Explore In Washington: User-Sourced Reference

5th Gen 4Runner Overland Build On WABDR Section 3

Explore Washington Through These 4×4 Trails Rated For All Skill Levels

Welcome back to our next post featuring the top trails and OHV parks across America. In today’s post, we are featuring a few of the most scenic areas that Washington State has to offer.

Last time, we covered trails and areas to off-road in Arizona.

Washington has been a haven for off-roading enthusiasts for many years. With the state’s varied landscapes that range from mountains to deserts, it’s the perfect playground for adventure. There is an extensive network of trails and remote backcountry roads, lush forests, winding rivers, and steep mountain passes to satisfy everyone’s adventure appetite.

Let’s take a look at the top Washington State off-road trails!

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Each week, we cover new areas across the country to highlight the top off-road & overland trails.

Note: The list below is in no particular order.

1. North Fork – North Bend

North Fork 4x4 Trail Near North Bend, WA

Submission By: Jermy (@pnw.sr5p)

Tell Us About The Trail

North Fork is a great trail for those looking to get their tires dirty! It is a fairly easy gravel road but also has a few more technical areas, especially during the rainy and cold seasons. You’ll find yourself going through 1-2 feet of water in some areas because the potholes are so deep.

I love that this trail is just a 30-45 minute drive from Seattle. It’s an easy straight-a-way trail that I can get done during the day. There are also plenty of spots to camp along the main road, some of which have amazing views including rivers, mountains, and so much more.

What Would You Rate It?

I would rate this as a 2/10 because of the overall terrain. It does tend to take a while to get to the top due to all the potholes so I would also recommend airing down for a more comfortable ride. 

2. Gallagher Head Lake – Cle Elum

Gallagher Head Lake Trail Near Cle Elum, Washington

Submission By: Mike (@lookanother5thgen)

Tell Us About The Trail

This spot is hands down one of the best in all of Washington state. There are beautiful views everywhere you look and it’s quite a ride up to the top.

When you get to the top you’ll see an amazing lake. Like many others, this is usually where camp is set up for the night and you get to wake up to the most amazing views. There are also quite a few trails around to hike up. The surrounding peaks limit your views but if you have a drone, I highly recommend flying it here.

What Would You Rate It?

I would rate this trail a 6.5/10. This is the roughest road I’ve been on in Washington State, however, I don’t go looking for rough roads. It’s mostly steep but has some washed-out spots with big rocks. Most of the ruts are from all the people who go up fully aired up and spin their tires the whole time. I have stock skids and no sliders and made it fine.

3. Bethel Ridge – Rimrock

Bethel Ridge 4x4 Trail Near Rimrock, Washington

Submission By: Mikel (@t4r_stubs)

Tell Us About The Trail

Bethel Ridge is one of the more well-known areas in Washington state. It’s a fairly quick and easy trail and only takes about 30-40 minutes to get from the trailhead to the top. Once you get to the top, there are awesome views of a few mountains surrounding the area.

It’s also a great spot if you want to go camping. There are quite a few areas a bit further down from the viewpoint that can accommodate several trucks.

Overall, the terrain isn’t that bad. On the way up, you’ll have some areas that are pretty rocky and others that are a bit more technical but nothing that any stock 4×4 couldn’t handle.

What Would You Rate It?

I would rate Bethel Ridge as a 2-3/10. The trail itself is very easy. There are some areas that require a bit more maneuvering but other than that, it’s all very manageable. It’s a great place to visit in the summer when the skies are clear as you’ll be able to see everything.

4. Mt. Baker, Snoqualmie National Forest – Cle Elum

Mt. Baker 4WD Trail In Snoqualmie National Forest - Cle Elum, Washington

Submission By: Christian (@t1adventuring)

Tell Us About The Trail

This area offers a wide variety of everything from technical trails to easy FS roads. Generally, the views are top-notch, in any direction you look! Views of Rainer and the entire Cle Elum Valley stretch as far as you can see, just chock-full of trails.

What Would You Rate It?

This area has a wide variety of trail systems. You’ll find everything from 2/10 through 10/10. In general, I would rate most of the trails around a 5-6/10 if they are designated 4×4 trails and not FS roads.

5. WABDR Section 3 Ellensburg, WA 

WABDR Section 3 Off-Road Trail Near Ellensburg, WA

Submission By: Marie (@pnw.sr5p)

Tell Us About The Trail

If you’re not familiar with the Washington Backcountry Discovery Routes, it should definitely be on your bucket list, especially Section 3. The WA BDR starts in the southern part of Washington and ends right along the border of Washington and Canada. Section 3 is between Ellensburg and Cashmere.

You’ll have the most incredible views in this section. And lots of opportunities to see what your truck can do. I will say there are a few spots that definitely made me nervous but with the right spotter, it was easy to get through them.

What Would You Rate It?

I would rate this overall trail a 5/10. For the most part, it’s a fairly easy gravel/dirt road however there are some areas that are a bit more technical. With that being said, I don’t think you need a very built rig to make it through this section.

6. Old Durr Road – Ellensburg

Old Durr Road Offroad Trail In Washington

Submission By: Ryan (@4runnersaurus)

Tell Us About The Trail

Old Durr Road is a great laid-back trail that people of all experience levels can enjoy. On it, you’ll experience a little bit of history as it was created around 1880 as an alternative to the main wagon route through the Wenas Valley. It essentially connects the city of Ellensburg, WA to Selah, WA (near Yakima).

There are some great views along this trail, most notably a lookout from a radio tower that overlooks the valley that’s just a short detour away. I highly recommend tackling this trail in the Spring when all the wildflowers are in bloom, the scenery is pretty amazing.

Old Durr Road is part of the WABDR as mentioned above, it is the tail-end of Section 2.

What Would You Rate It?

I would rate this trail a 3-4/10. While most of it is unpaved dirt roads, there are some rocky spots where ground clearance and durable tires would provide peace of mind. This trail is definitely manageable with a crossover using proper caution and tire placement, however.

Final Thoughts

5th Gen 4Runner On Bethel Ridge Trail In Washington

And that wraps up our Washington off-road trail fan favorites!

We’d love to hear what other areas you like to explore in the area, so comment on your favorites below! If you want to be a part of a future trail guide post, make sure to submit using the link above!

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